St. Branwalader
(Died late 6th C.)
(Latin: Branuvellatorus; English: Brendan)

Branwalader was said to have been a son of the legendary King Conan Meriadoc of Dumnonia & Brittany. If so, he would no doubt have been a son of this King's second marriage to Dareca, the supposed sister of St. Patrick. He would have been brought up and educated in the latter kingdom with his nineteen saintly brothers. They mostly followed their uncle into Ireland, but Branwalader entered a local monastery before helping to spread the word of God amongst the people of Cornwall and the Channel Islands. He founded churches at St. Breward in the former and St. Brelade in the latter. Both are alternative forms of his name, though he should not be confused with Saints Brannoc or Brendan. He eventually died at his foundation of Branscombe in Devon, where William Worcestre refers to his shrine.

Some of Branwalader's relics were later taken back to Brittany, but they were re-acquired by King Aethelstan in the early 10th century when many Breton clerics fled from Norse invasions. The King gave these relics to the Abbey of Milton in Dorset, where they were venerated until the Reformation. They appear to have consisted of the saint's arm or his head, or possibly both.

Canon Doble believed that Branswaladr was a companion of Samson which would place him in the mid-6th century, perhaps a more likley timeframe than the traditional one.

Records of St. Branwalader date back to the 9th century. As a 6th century saint, he could be historic.


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